During Winter, gardening outlets are breaming with new season bare-rooted roses, deciduous ornamentals and fruit trees for Winter planting.
Bare-rooted plants are mostly sold in Winter when they are dormant and this gives them the best chance of being replanted successfully. They are also easier to transport and transplant into their final position in the garden.
The rows of bare-rooted trees in cool climate nurseries at this time of year can seem rather unglamorous.
Looks, however, can be deceiving. In fact, many gardeners refuse to plant at any other time, greedily anticipating the cool season when we have some of the finest jewels of the plant world at our fingertips. Here are eight (8) tips to get your bare-rooted deciduous trees off to a good start!
Look for bare-rooted plants in winter – June, July and August. (Don’t buy bare-rooted stock after August as plants will start to reshoot, making transplant difficult.)
Reputable garden centres should sell only quality stock but it’s still a good philosophy to examine before you buy. Avoid specimens with brittle branches that can break easily; they should feel sturdy and fairly flexible. Also, avoid specimens with visible damage or disease.
Many bare-rooted trees are sold with their roots bound in sawdust to keep them moist. Remove this sawdust before planting as the decaying matter can harm the new feeder roots.
Hot tips for planting bare-rooted deciduous trees
TIP 1 – Plant the tree as soon as possible after purchase.
TIP 2 – Don’t plant too deep. The tree needs to be at the same depth as it was in its original position. Look for a slight change in colouration on the base of the stem for an indication of the original soil line. As a guide, the graft should sit about 10cm above the ground.
TIP 3 – Remember to keep the roots moist. If you are not planting immediately, wrap the roots in wet newspaper and a plastic bag.
TIP 4 – Before planting, remove any diseased or damaged roots.
TIP 5 – It can be good to apply water crystals when planting, but using more than recommended on the instructions can cause root rot.
TIP 6 – Place the plant in the hole, spreading the roots into a natural position. Building a mound at the base of the hole may help steady the plant. When backfilling, wiggle the tree and water the roots to help remove any air pockets. Loosely stake it until established.
TIP 7 – Water immediately after planting, but don’t overwater when dormant.
TIP 8 – Apply SeaMax Fish & Kelp with initial watering to help the plant develop roots and resist transplant shock. Start applying fertiliser when growth resumes in spring.7 Things to Consider Before Planting a Tree How to Grow Potted Fruit Trees